Riding again :) Advice/opinions needed

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Riding again :) Advice/opinions needed

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    09-10-2010, 12:02 PM
Riding again :) Advice/opinions needed

I haven't ridden since I was younger (now 24) but I have always wanted to get back into it. I have finally done something proactive and have started going riding once each week. I have only been on hacks so far and really enjoying it and I thought I had remembered pretty much everything so I was feeling quite smug. I ask for a different horse each week for variety and this week I got a 13.2hh pony (so pretty) and I found the cantering awful - I just couldnt stay in my seat and had to hold onto the pommel to feel secure at some points. I didnt have this problem on the other horses so what went wrong? Pony too small for me? Massively out of practice so can't get used to other quickly? Or just some horses canters just feel really bouncy and are too hard to sit?

I've booked a lesson next week rather than a hack - what should I ask the trainer to concentrate on? Im not a complete novice so I would find starting from the beginning so boring.

Thanks for your advice in advance
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    09-10-2010, 12:16 PM
The shorter the animal, the shorter their stride, which means a bouncier ride especially at the faster gaits.

I have a 14.2 h Arabian and a 15.2 h TB. Guess which one has the smoother canter?
    09-10-2010, 12:22 PM
I tried buying my first shorter horse ever last year. Rosie stood 15.1 After only a few rides on her I sold her due to not liking any gait in a shorter stride horse. Bought my 16.1hh Shunke and was glad to be riding what I was used to again. Shunke is the shortest horse I have ever owned but he is smooth as silk :)
    09-10-2010, 12:56 PM
I think it's fairly common for ponies to have rougher gaits, but I wouldn't go so far to say all shorter horses have rougher gaits than taller ones. I've ridden plenty of horses in the 14.3-15.2 range that have had really smooth gaits. The taller ones I've ridden have been comparable.

The pony I own right now is 13.2, actually has very smooth gaits. Her trot is a little jouncy if she's tense, but that's common throughout all horses. Her canter is complete rocking horse.

I'd look at the pony's conformation and see if there are any obvious flaws that would make it's gait less comfortable.
    09-10-2010, 01:00 PM
MN, granted, if the proportions are correct and the animal's conformation is good, then they're less likely to be so choppy.

Still, my 14.1 h Arab was built beautifully, and riding that horse at the trot was like riding a jackhammer! His canter was a lot smoother than his trot, though.

It could also be that the pony doesn't canter much. If they're not used to a certain gait, they'll definitely be choppier than a horse used to carrying themselves at a faster speed.
    09-10-2010, 01:01 PM
Thanks for the replies guys - what made me wonder is that this particular pony is the horse of choice for the kids competing in the pony club - so thought it must just be my riding that made him so uncomfortable
    09-10-2010, 01:08 PM
SR- Lily's canter is far smoother than her trot too, but her trot isn't anything terrible. Her canter's just that awesome

Lydz - I don't know much about pony club, but SR has a really valid point. If this pony isn't cantered that often it may just be really rough from disuse or lack of proper muscling/balance.
    09-11-2010, 08:55 PM
So it seems that a general rule (but not always the case) is the smaller the horse the more uncomfortable the ride can be. Just out of interest what horse size is about right for me? Im 5'4'' and weigh 7 stone (98 pounds).
    09-12-2010, 12:12 AM
Originally Posted by lydz    
So it seems that a general rule (but not always the case) is the smaller the horse the more uncomfortable the ride can be. Just out of interest what horse size is about right for me? Im 5'4'' and weigh 7 stone (98 pounds).
No, absolutely not! My qh is 14'3, short legged, long body. One of the most smooth trot and canter one can think of. I can sit and sit her bareback trot (fast as well as slow). I take lessons on other people horses (mostly tall jumper/eventers) so can compare, and so far neither had such a smooth gate. Well, with one exception (his trot was pretty choppy, but canter was awesome). BTW, my other horse (15'2 and very compact build) is much less comfortable to ride.
    09-12-2010, 12:52 AM
I too don't really think height in and of itself will be a determining factor in a horse's smoothness, or lack there of, in gaits. I've ridden horses ranging from 13 hh, to 17 hh...and there have been plenty of smooth horses in that bracket, no matter how 'short' they were. It's conformation that will determine the gait; an upright shoulder, will give a horse a more rough gait, because he won't be able to reach foward as well. Same with posty legs, won't matter how tall the horse is, he may have a hard gait. There are just so many factors that have to be factored in, other than how tall a horse is.

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